Now, Presidential nominee Kovind gets into the act

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said that the Opposition is a divided house over the Presidential elections as many of its partners have extended support to ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "As the party has made a decision to support Kovind, there is no need for it to attend the meeting of opposition parties being held in New delhi", said JD-U spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan. While announcing Kovind's name, BJP chief Amit Shah had said the party had gone through a list of names before selecting him.

The sources reiterated that since the BJP has named Kovind, a Dalit leader, the Opposition may also zero in on a candidate from the same community.

Former CM and senior AGP leader, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, said, "Iwill be able to say the stand of the party (AGP) only after the official discussion, but the question of opposing Kovind doesn't arise". Votes in the presidential elections will be counted on July 20, three days after voting.

Other non-NDA parties who supported Kovind include All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and YSR Congress Party.

Meanwhile, a divided Opposition is heading into a crucial meeting today to decide on the nominee for the presidential poll against NDA's Ram Nath Kovind.

Congress will oppose the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind for the President's post because of his strong RSS-BJP ideology, said leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, on Tuesday. President Pranab Mukherjee will demit office on July 24.

Kovind is guaranteed to get more than 61% of the vote, and the finally tally may increase depending on how some still-undecided regional parties vote, a person familiar with the matter in the BJP said.

Later, Shah thanked Panneerselvam for extending his factions support to Kovind.

The Left party will discuss the issue wihin itself before Opposition leaders meet on June 22, the sources added.

Key leaders from the Congress and Left parties have interacted a couple of times since last night and are "exploring" the chances of fielding a suitable candidate.

  • Leroy Wright